At their regular meeting on Tuesday night, Yonkers City Council voted to pass a bill that would see more stringent monitoring of the purchase, sale, installation, and possession of catalytic converters.
The bill is titled, “Catalytic Converter Recordkeeping for purchase, sale and installation: individuals in possession.” Council member of the sixth district, Anthony Merante, sponsored and first brought forward this bill to the Legislation and Codes committee on January 10th. The legislation addresses constituents’ concerns surrounding the increased theft of these valuable auto parts. In 2022, reported thefts reached 344, up from 122 thefts in 2021 and zero in 2017.
The resolution requires electronic record keeping of activities surrounding the sale, purchase, or installation of catalytic converters. The law also stipulates that transaction records must include a driver’s license or passport for identification purposes. And that these digital records be indexed by date and time and retained for a minimum of two years. The electronic format of the records also ensures they can be searched and referenced by the YPD or Consumer Affairs.
Failure to comply with the new legislation will result in a Class 3 offense for businesses with one violation. The tiered penalty structure includes harsher penalties for repeat offenders. For businesses with more than one violation in a calendar year, the charges will be upgraded to a Class 1 offense.
Fixing a Broken System
“This is becoming a problem on an epidemic scale”
Merante also stressed the penalties as a deterrent. “My resolution would provide an additional civil fine of $1,000 per stolen catalytic converter. This legislation would take the incentive away from potential thieves. If you are caught with 10 units that’s a $10,000 fine. Financial penalties will have a more severe impact than our broken bail bond system with its tendency just to catch and release criminals.”
Cracking Down on the Catalytic Converter Craze
The dramatic increase in catalytic converter theft since 2017 is due to the high value of precious metals within them. According to ABC News, the 2022 resale estimates of platinum, palladium, and rhodium are upwards of $20,000 per ounce. Their accessible location on the undercarriage of vehicles also makes them attractive to thieves. These parts can quickly and easily be removed with a few cuts from a reciprocating saw.